By Chris Lennon, News editor
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
AHEAD of a ‘homecoming’ gig at the Forum Hertfordshire in Hatfield tomorrow (Wednesday) night, Welwyn Hatfield Times news editor Chris Lennon talks to Billy Lunn about touring with The Subways, plans for a fourth album, and carving out a potential new career – as a wedding singer.
WHEN I call Billy Lunn, he’s not at home. But then that’s not unusual, because The Subways are never at home. They’re always on tour – and they love it.
In fact, the band have just arrived at the destination of their latest gig, Thessalonika in Greece, when I catch up with him.
“I’ve just checked into my hotel,” Billy tells me. “We’ve had a four-hour van journey from Iaonnina, which was up in the mountains, so to come back down into a city again is really quite nice.”
Greece and neighbouring Bulgaria (they played a concert in Sofia, too) are just the latest countries for the Welwyn Garden City band to tick off on the global ‘places we’ve played’ list.
You name it, they’ve pretty much played there – all across Europe, as far afield as the States and Australia, as well as the cream of the UK festivals: Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds.
Of their seemingly never-ending schedule, Billy says: “We’ve just finished a UK tour, and played a few venues in Ireland, which we haven’t done for a few years.
“Then we’re home for 10 days, then straight off to Germany.”
So do The Subways ever take time off?
“We last had a rest in January,” says Billy. “We had three or four weeks off, which is the longest we’ve had in a long time.
“The last eight years have really been a whirlwind. We’re continually on tour, then working on an album, then back touring, then back working on another record.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way though – I absolutely love it.”
Touring may be in their blood, but Billy admits there’s something “special” about putting on a show at home.
“We play all over the world, and now and then have played to 70 to 80,000 people, but for us we’re most nervous when we play the local shows, in front of our friends and family.
“I don’t know why it happens, but it really does! They’re a special group of people, and hopefully a lot of WGC and Hatfield will come to the Forum.”
A ‘homecoming’ gig it may be, but Wednesday will be The Subways’ first time on stage at the Hatfield university complex. And Billy can’t wait.
“We’ve never played there, but when my wife was at uni we went to a few club nights there. I was totally blown away by how much fun we had at the place – it was quite mindblowing.”
The band can certainly count on some friendly faces being in the crowd – Billy’s wife, his and Josh’s two elder sisters, parents, aunts and uncles and a whole host of friends will all be there.
“It’s going to be a nice family affair,” he laughs. “Not that we can really hang around afterwards – we’re off immediately on our tour bus to Germany.”
Apperances at Rock am Ring in Wershofen on June 1 and Rock im Park in Nuremberg two days later mark the start of a summer of festivals for The Subways.
This will take in the likes of Sweden, Switzerland, Romania and Russia, as well as T in the Park, Godney Gathering at Glastonbury and Y Not Festival on these shores.
“Reading and Leeds have just been offered to us as well,” Billy reveals, “so we’re really looking forward to that. We’re big Reading Festival fans.”
So with all this touring, off the back of released-last-year third album Money and Celebrity, there surely hasn’t been time to record anything new, right? Wrong.
Billy says: “I want to get back and working on our fourth album ASAP. We’ve had a tendency to leave three years between each album, but I really want to curb that!
“We’re writing material now. There’s three songs already that will definitely be on there, and ideally I want 16 by the end of the year.
“We can then begin recording in January and hopefully the album will be out next year, but you never really know how long it will take.”
With work planned on album number four and a diary that is stuffed with concert dates, there doesn’t seem to be much let up in The Subways’ schedule any time soon. Good news for The Subways, bad news for two of my pals.
Huge fans of the band and due to get married next year, they had dared me to ask Billy if he’d sing the first song at their wedding.
And it was a suggestion that seemed to go down rather well.
“I would love that,” he laughs. “I’ll turn up with my acoustic guitar and dedicate them a song!”
So if you’re reading this Ross and Rach, that’s “Billy plus 1” to add to the guest list!